Scam Alert

Published 8:19 am Thursday, August 28, 2014

If it sounds too good to be true, then usually it’s a scam.

Two Roanoke-Chowan area residents have reported being targeted by a caller, alleging to be from the Washington, DC area, who informed the local women they had been selected to receive an $8,400 government grant. The funny thing was that neither had applied for a federal or state grant.

Another local resident reported she was contacted by telephone saying she owned thousands of dollars to a payday lender and if she didn’t immediately settle her delinquent account the IRS was ready to step in. The woman claimed to have never used the services of a payday lender.

Now, another local woman claims to have been targeted in what she called a lottery scam.

That victim lives in Gates County. She told Roanoke-Chowan Publications of a recent telephone call made to her residence from a man who claimed to live in Elizabeth City.

“He was very polite and went as far as to tell me he was raised on a large farm in the Columbia (NC) area that he now owns,” said the GatesCounty woman.

The caller said the local woman had won $855,000 and a 2013 Mercedes Benz in what he claimed as the “Mega Lotto.”

“The more he talked, the more he had me believing that I was a winner,” the victim said. “I was even asked what color Mercedes Benz did I want and I was given a confirmation number. But there was something deep inside me that I knew just wasn’t right, especially knowing that I do not play the lottery.”

As it turned out, it was a scam….one that thankfully the local woman did not play along.

“I was instructed to purchase a Green Dot Money Card in the amount of $150,” she said. “I was told to meet this man in Elizabeth City (at a place she did not disclose) where I would hand over the money card, after which the $855,000 check and the Mercedes Benz would be delivered to my house.”

Since that time, the victim has contacted on other occasions, even on her cell phone.

“I reported this to the Gates County Sheriff’s Office and I also calling you (the newspaper) to get the word out to other people in our area about this scam. I didn’t fall for it, even though it sounded good, and I hope others will not fall for it either.”

Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb confirmed on Tuesday of this week that he was contacted by the victim.

“We receive reports of scams throughout the year,” Webb said. “Unless you catch these scammers red-handed, there’s no much we can do other than to take a report of the incident and notify the (North Carolina) Attorney General’s Office.”

Webb did advise all local citizens that if they are targeted by a scammer, do not give them what they want.

“They’re after your hard-earned money,” Webb noted. “And they’ll use any extreme, to include trying to frighten their victims with false claims of arrest or saying they’ll turn them in to the IRS or FBI, to get that money. I implore our residents not to become a victim….do not give them your Social Security number, credit card or banking information. And do not go out and purchase a pre-loaded debit card, such as a Green Dot Card., as they may ask.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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